The following was originally published at Ongoing History Of Protest Songs.
The Trump administration has received widespread criticism for its anti-immigration policies. That includes the heartless act of separating children from their parents at the border.
Some, such as Fox News Laura Ingraham and ICE director Matthew Albence, tried to defend the indefensible caging of children by comparing the detention centers to summer camps. But would they feel the same if this was happening to their children?
That premise is explored on “Camp America,” a song off the debut self-titled album by 93PUNX, the punk rock side-project of Chicago rapper Vic Mensa.
The tune effectively uses misleading sunny feel-good pop-punk melodies to add weight to dark satirical lyrics. “We’ll be living it up, not giving a fuck/Splitting you up, then we put you in cuffs/Then we shipping you off, yeah, you could get lost at Camp America.”
“Take your clothes off baby, let me see what you got/We can have a good time if you’re legal or not/Its an ignorant, arrogant, terrorist, heritage/You can finally be an American.”
Mensa told The Daily Beast, “I thought that was a crazy fucking idea and wanted to create a world with this song that imagined that twisted alternate reality, where it was fun for kids to be held as prisoners, drinking out of toilets, away from their parents, and somehow enjoy it like one might at a summer camp.”
A provocative video featuring white children in orange jumpsuits, gleefully playing while they are abused and tortured, was produced for the song.
“My intention for using white kids as opposed to minority children is to point out the blatantly obvious fact that this would never happen to white kids in this country or maybe anywhere on this earth,” Mensa explained. “Although the nature of the actions the kids were involved in were graphic or shocking, it was all taken from actual occurrences reported at ‘detention’ centers.”
The video fittingly concludes with the statement: “There are over 13,000 immigrant children in U.S. custody today. What if it was your kid?”
Watch or listen to “Camp America” by 93PUNX: